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Zip Monkey
Angel Bimini is a former pornographic actress who has reinvented herself as a private detective. She's hired by a buffoonish client who insists he's being stalked by a girlfriend. It so happens, this Ralph works at the local medical research university. Not only has the university attracted unwanted attention for its animal testing ... but it has a serious cash flow problem. Angel hopes this job will be an easy $1,000. The next thing she knows, somebody is shooting up her office. Even stranger is that a witness swears the job was carried out by an adult male chimpanzee.
Political intrigue and sexual hijinks abound in this quirky novel from Rasmussen (American Banjo). Former porn star Angel Bimini has set herself up as a private investigator in Secaucus, N.J., desperate to get away from her past. She’s approached by an unscrupulous accountant who claims he’s being stalked by his mistress and wants Angel to investigate. The university he works for has come under scrutiny for its animal experimentation. As Angel begins work on the case, she uncovers mysteries, secrets, and half-truths that envelop the local scientific community—and when someone shoots up her office, an eyewitness claims the shooter was a chimpanzee wielding a machine gun.

Rasmussen crafts an atmosphere of palpable intrigue; there are many twists and turns, and the underhanded moments and double-crosses keep the plot moving. The book is replete with scenes of sexual misadventure. Lust is quite a preoccupation for several characters, and though some lines are funny (“The idea of this statuesque goy dish with an assault rifle made him turn inside out at the groin”), readers will eventually weary of the descriptions of each character’s libidinous thoughts. At times these scenes are uncomfortably puerile, and the humorous treatment of a primate sexually assaulting Angel is disturbing.

Where Rasmussen succeeds is in the character of Angel Bimini herself. She is a strong lead, instantly likeable, with a familiar but not unwelcome story of personal redemption, and she gives the story colour and life. Rasmussen is at his best when he delves into her personal background and her quest to reinvent herself. Like any noir PI, she’s sharp and cynical, but her moments of soul-searching and reinvention keep her well-rounded. Character-motivated readers will be glad to follow her through this madcap story.

Takeaway: Fans of humorous, tongue-in-cheek detective fiction will enjoy the misadventures of Angel Bimini, a porn star turned PI.

Great for fans of Melissa Olson, Justin Robinson.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: -
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-